View Full Version : Body Protectors - Pros and Cons
21st Feb 2004, 10:45 AM
I am considering buying a body protector when I start to canter and jump, however, it seems like most students at my schools don't wear one. In an actual fact, I think that it will make learning a lot safer. On the other hand, it might restrict movements. Does anyone have any input on this topic?
Finally, would it be too hot to wear in the summer time? I have also heard about different levels of protectors and the one I had been recommended was made in Canada with level 3. Can anyone give me some comments?
21st Feb 2004, 11:04 AM
They will help to save your life in an accident
Personally i find wearing mine makes me more confident because I know I won't get hurt (as bad) if I fall off
I find the restrictiveness (which there isn't that much off) very good for my position as it makes me sit straighter.
They are lovely and warm in winter
Yes, they are very hot in summer and I have to change my t-shirt after riding becuase it becomes so wet
They don't prevent all injuries
21st Feb 2004, 11:08 AM
You sweat like a pig wearing one in anything over 5 degC and they restrict your ability to communicate with the horse (turnng shoulders, etc.). I only wear if I intend to jump on a hack and I am riding a headcase. E.g. Corin who was spooked by blue flowers, or Indy who was spooked by a blue barrel 1/4 mile away and leapt sideways in canter and almost had me over a fence.
21st Feb 2004, 12:13 PM
There is an element of 'you get what you pay for'. The more expensive ones are better ventilated and mold to your body better - so are more comfortable. If you're female, I wouldn't recommend the 'unisex' wrap around fastening ones. To have it roomy enough for chest, its too bulky around the middle. I started off with one of those (I think it was about £50). It did restrict movement and I hated it. I then bought an Airowear one (about £100), designed for a woman. It zips up the front, is close fitting, well ventilated (although on a hot summers day you do get sweaty) and with the warmth of your body, it becomes soft and molds to your shape. Its easy to wear and I forget I'm wearing it!
The research evidence is good that it reduces the likelyhood of serious injury to the body. And its worth noting that anyone competing in cross country is obliged to wear one for that reason. The reality is that any horse can spook badly and we're all at risk of coming off whatever we ride.
21st Feb 2004, 04:38 PM
What about others who claim that they might increase your chances of being injured if you were to wear one? Is that possible?
21st Feb 2004, 05:05 PM
Wally says the one time she wore one she broke her coccyx. (if I recall correctly)
If your sense of danger is lessened, you might take silly chances and end up coming off and injuring yourself one way or another (arm, leg, hip, head).
I wear mine for xc; jumping fixed obstacles that will *not* collapse if I fall, and moving at high speeds. Both of these increase my riding risks and wearing the body protector makes me a little safer should I fall (but I try not to ;)) Mine is a Tipperary and fits well; it makes my back a bit stiffer vertically and hard to rotate horizontally and I wouldn't want to wear it for dressage. But xc I don't have much need of that anyway.
21st Feb 2004, 07:27 PM
I've had mine for 6 weeks and its great, boosted my confidence when riding some horses at my riding school. Its a charles owen level 3 and cost me £90. Now i'm used to it i don't know i'm wearing it after a while. I wear it for everything, hacking dressage, sj etc. Haven't had a show yet so don't know if i can wear it under my jacket...may be a problem... I wouldn't be without it now, i had a friend who fell off in the sand school last october and broke her sternum (didn't have her body protector on) and has been in and out of hospital at least 7 times since with complications. The doc said that if she had had it on she would have just been bruised so it shows how much difference they make
21st Feb 2004, 07:58 PM
I wear mine all the time!!! I would never ride without it, like I would never ride without my skull cap.... Yes it can get warm in the summer but you can have an accident any time of the year! But they can also keep you lovely and warm in the winter. I don't even notice now that I am wearing one, I have worn one for so long now... I even drove home with it on one time, I had forgot to take it off.. :D :D
21st Feb 2004, 10:25 PM
I rode for about 6 years without one perfectly happily and then invested in a waistcoat-type one with a zip up the front. Have to say in my opinion the thing was useless.. it was all flimsy but was supposedly a Class 3! Anyway after 2 years of getting used to wearing the body protector I invested in a new one as my interest in cross countey worried my parents and they insisted that i get a new one. So i got a 'breathable' Saddle craft (i think) and i found it improved my position and gave me a lot more confidence, I don't do it up too tight but it doesn't slip or anything so i think i wear it safely. I find the tail flap a bit of a nuisance when I'm cantering as it tends to push the body protector upwards as it hits the saddle and the body protector ends up around my ears if you know what i mean, but the tail flaps can be removed! I havent worn my body protector since the summer (last time i went X country) although i would suggest wearing one with youngsters, horses you don't know much about, and doing roadwork, just to be on the safe side. You can get a pretty decent class 3 for about £60-£70, they're worth the investment, as i don't think i'll ever grow out of mine and i'd rather be safe than sorry :)
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